You know when you first find out you’re expecting it’s not very long until you start to hear, “just wait until this happens,” or “just wait until that…” and most of the stories and advice you’ll receive are well-meaning, but many can also steal a bit of the joy that’s about to come. I want you to keep your joy, so today I want you to take my story to heart…
PLEASE, LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES. If there is one thing you do as a parent, make sure it’s this: Do not fall into the lovey trap.
First things first, what’s a lovey?
Do you know that little one you see carrying around that ratty blanket that’s tattered and torn or that bear whose leg is only just hanging on by a thread and there’s stuffing coming out of its seams?
That’s a lovey.
Many kids have them during their early childhood years. Some outgrow them sooner than others, and they can work wonders when it comes to helping your child sleep better.
Overall, I LOVE THE LOVEY! Let me count the reasons:
- it makes hard things, like transitions, easier
- It can make going to daycare easier
- when your child gets hurt, they have something to go to for comfort
- It makes travel easier – sleeping in a new place can be a breeze when they have their lovey from home!
- it makes it easier for anyone to put them to sleep
But, I do need to share some advice around this item, because, as you’re about to read, it can be an emotional thing for a child! This is a good thing, I promise, but you also need to tread lightly.
Here are four tips to help you introduce a lovey to your child:
Tip 1 – Pick a lovey that’s easy to replace and not some rare thing.
If you purchased your child’s lovey while on your family’s Spring Break trip to Europe, there’s a good chance this is going to backfire.
Trust me, you want a lovey that’s easy to replace. Once you give it to them, this thing is going to get used and abused by your child. They may love it too much, resulting in tatters and tears, or they may lose it because they will also try to take it everywhere with them. You’ll eventually need to replace it.
Let me tell you a story…
My son has a monkey lovey. He takes it everywhere! He also forgets where he leaves it on the daily. We got so tired of spending 30 minutes at bedtime looking for monkey that I figured it was time to start looking for a back up, only to discover that the one he had was no longer manufactured or sold. So, onto Ebay I went!
I bought it and was a bit surprised to open the package. Inside was a large version of my son’s monkey.
We now have “Mommy Monkey” and “Baby Monkey” and my son must sleep with BOTH of them at night. It’s a fiasco at bedtime when we’re struggling to find both of them! If you were a fly on the wall of our home at around 7:30pm you may often hear “Where are the D*mn monkeys!”
Don’t fall into the lovey trap!
What lesson can we learn from this? Don’t use a lovey that’s not easy to replace or one you don’t have a few replacements for.
Tip 2 – Introduce it during sweet moments like playtime, when you’re comforting your child, or during the bedtime routine.
Optional: Sleep with the lovey a few nights before introducing it to your child so it has your scent.
Once you’re ready to introduce it to your child, begin with those sweet moments you experience together throughout the day – playtime, moments of comfort, or while you’re reading books together at bedtime.
Your child will begin to associate their lovey with these feelings of warmth and comfort.
Tip 3 – Confirm with your child’s doctor that they’re mobile enough to have a lovey in their crib at night.
Most children are ready for a lovey at night when they’re mobile enough to move freely in their crib, typically at 12 months old. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not putting anything in the crib with your child until they’re 12 months or older.
If you feel like your child has met milestones early and they’re mobile enough to sleep with a lovey, just get clearance from their pediatrician prior to doing so to make sure it’s a safe option for your child.
I’d recommend incorporating it into your child’s daily routine for a few weeks before placing it in the crib with them as a security item, unless they’re over 12 months, then you could do it right away.
Tip 4 – Start to give it to them by placing it in their hands for naps and at bedtime.
Once you’ve got the go ahead from your child’s pediatrician or they’re over 12 months old, put your child in their crib with their lovey!
Have them snuggle it and give it hugs, just like they can do during the day when they need comfort.
If you tend to them while they’re sleeping or if they stir, you can place the lovey back in their arms to comfort them. Eventually, they will look around the crib for this item if and when they wake at night.
Bonus Tip – When you initially purchase a lovey, get two right away.
I cannot stress this enough – when you know you want to use a specific item for a lovey, just get two (or, better yet, 3!) right away.
The key here, though, is to only let your child know there is one. Keep the others in a safe, secret place so you can replace them as needed when one gets lost or need to be washed. Rotate through the loveys accordingly!
If you make the mistake of giving your child more than one lovey at a time, you’ll find yourself in the same situation I am – the need for ALL THE LOVEYS every sleep and every night.
Did you find this information helpful?? Share this post with a mom friend. I’d also love to hear your lovey story – shoot me a DM on Instagram, I love to hang out there!